I’m an unapologetic cupcake fanatic. Tiny cakes have held my heart since I was a wee little wisp of a thing scoffing them at birthday parties. I went through a period of cupcakey bliss around 2008 when cupcakes were the dessert du jour. And when macaroons knocked them off the top spot, I didn’t give a toss. There’s nothing quite like folding back the crinkly paper case and taking a scrumptious first bite of soft, sweet cake. Or eating them from the bottom-up so that you get a lovely mouthful of frosting to finish with. Choosing five favourites is going to be hard, but here we go.
- Bacon cupcakes.
No joke, these are a real thing. They are a super simple recipe but they always go down a treat. I like to make them when I’m having friends stay because they make an impressive breakfast. They’re filling, they’re tasty and they look way more complicated than they are. Basically you use a rasher of bacon to line a cupcake tin. Then you crack an egg into it, sprinkle the top with cheese and chives and bake. Viola! Delicious breakfast cupcake.
2. Red velvet cakes.
Red velvet is just so decadent and divine. The rich rosy hue is utterly romantic and so sexy. The fact that they usually come topped with rich cream cheese frosting is another reason why I can’t get enough red velvet. The creamy-sweet-tangy flavour of cream cheese frosting is mouth-watering to say the least. The best red velvet cakes I’ve ever had are at Little Cupcakes in Degraves Street in Melbourne. That hidden eatery has an array of flavours, but the red velvet truly are superior.
3. Fairy cakes
Every year for her birthday my Nan used to make a batch of lighter-than-air sponge cakes. She would take a sharp knife and slice a portion out of the centre of each cake, filling it with jam and cream. The cut-out would then be fashioned into two fairy wings and perched charmingly atop the mountain of cream-cake goodness. Fairy cakes are so pretty and fluffy and always bring a wash of delight when you glimpse a plate of them coming your way.
4. Vanilla cupcakes
My vanilla cupcakes are legendary in my family. Whenever we get together for a special event, I inevitably have somebody request that I make a batch of vanilla cakes to bring with me. I’ve decorated them in every way imaginable: with demure pastel frosting and tiny sugar roses, with outlandish coloured sprinkles, dusted with edible glitter and done up to look like mushrooms. But they always taste the same, sweet, simple and delightful. So many people use the word “vanilla” as an insult, to mean “boring” or “mediocre”. But my vanilla cupcakes are anything but.
5. Lumberjack cakes.
The chef at my favourite local cafe regularly churns out batches of lumberjack cakes, and they are the perfect thing to down with tea on a chilly Sunday afternoon. Heaped with apple, coconut, dates and golden syrup, these morsels are sticky and comforting.
Do you have a favourite cupcake variety? And do you believe that cupcakes are superior to macaroons?